Lutherie instruction

I am a full-time guitar maker and teaching is something I squeeze in when I can. I cannot take on a student with zero woodworking experience, since lutherie is a highly skilled trade. I do not teach methods which rely heavily on jigs and machinery, like most schools do. I have developed skills using mostly hand tools, and this is what I teach to people. Sure, I have a thickness sander, drill press, jointer, planer, vacuum press, routers, and the rest of it. But 90% of the real work, is still done by hand. 

Courses Offered:

1)French Polishing - One on one:

There exists a huge amount of misinformation on the art of French polishing. The first myth I’d like to challenge is that French Polishing is an extremely time consuming, labour intensive way to finish the guitar.

Once you know the basic principles of French polishing, you’ll discover that achieving a flat, high gloss finish that looks simply stunning, is not too difficult to learn, and that it also takes no more time than certain other finishing methods. The best way to learn French polishing is neither from a book nor from a video, but in person, from someone who does it well.

This one on one class is intended for people who really want to bring their French polishing to a professional level, and  is well suited for guitar makers and fine furniture makers. The people I’ve taught this course to in the past have been guitar makers who could French polish a little bit, but needed help to get their French polishing up to a high professional standard.

In this session you will learn:
• How to prepare the surface of the woods for finishing
• How to fill the pores using the traditional pumice method, plus a few modern alternatives 
• How to use egg whites as a sealer
• How to prepare and use different types of shellac depending on the look you’re after
• How to build up the body coats, and correct problems as they arise
• How to spirit off, and rub-out the finish
• How to French polish difficult areas of the guitar
• How to repair dings and worn areas of the finish

Cost: $400   Time: 8 hours

This class can be done in one long day, or over 2 half days.
If you’re interested in taking this class please contact Marcus Dominelli to book an appointment.


2)French Polishing class at Lee Valley Tools:

I teach French polishing at Lee Valley Tools in Victoria, B.C. two or three times a year. A friend who works there asked me to start teaching there, and the classes have been really popular. It seems as though many people want to learn how to french polish, not just guitar makers. I've had boatbuilders, furniture makers, piano restorers luthiers, and many others take this class.
The next class will be in the fall of 2016.  It’s a good class if you want to learn the basics of how to French polish. You can bring in your unfinished guitar, or one that needs touch up and I’ll teach you how to work on it.

Cost: $70 approx.  Number of students in class: max 10
Time: 7 hours (in one day)

This is a good class to take in order to learn the basics of French polishing. Everything  from mixing shellac, making pads, pore filling, bodying, to rubbing out the finish is discussed in detail.

This is a hands-on class. To register, you must contact Lee Valley Tools in Victoria.


3)Traditional Classical Guitar Making Course:

This is a course, not a class, since it takes many, many hours to complete. In this course I teach all of the basics about making a guitar, from beginning to end - from the selection of materials, to all of the construction techniques used in the process of building a traditional classical guitar in the Spanish style. I encourage students to follow a Torres, Hauser, Romanillos, type of guitar for their first one. This way they will get started with a design which will guarantee they end up with a good sounding guitar. I also teach them how to "shape the sound." This involves showing them which design aspects can be altered to push the sound of the guitar in a certain direction. Developing this skill is a must if you aspire to become a Custom Guitar Maker - one who designs and builds guitars for musicians. Granted, it takes much time and many guitars before one is competent as a custom luthier, but well worth the effort, as it is such a rewarding feeling to succesfully meet the demands of good players. I have custom built over 100 guitars and am confident in my ability to convey some of what I have learned. The rest takes time - there is no substitute...

I am currently teaching one part time student how to build a traditional classical guitar. This is an on-going process, whereby the student comes by my shop for 2 or 3 hours a week, working away until the guitar is finished. We start with raw materials and progress all the way to final string up of the guitar, every part of the process learned in detail. 
If you would like to be tutored in this manner feel free to contact me, and we might be able to work out an arrangement.
If you are from another country or far away locale, contact me about doing an intensive instruction course.

Traditional Guitar making instruction is charged on an hourly, daily, or weekly fee, depending on the circumstances.